Officials from Papua New Guinea or PNG detention center are promising to pay asylum seekers in lieu of leaving the units voluntarily. They are allegedly putting refugees under pressure thereby asking them to return to their home countries by their choice.
A reputed media agency reported several refugees admitted to getting payments if they leave the PNG detention center voluntarily. Asylum seekers on Manus Island belonging to Bangladesh and Nepal told the agency that they were asked to attend meetings frequently at the detention center. They also said that the officials put pressure on them to take up to $25,000 and either return to their native lands voluntarily or face deportation.
The Australian detention centers, including the PNG unit, have been in the news with the ICC petition that alleged the units of being the source of inhumane crime. The Global Legal Action Network and the Stanford International Human Rights Clinic have filed a 108-page petition stating the allegation. They submitted it to the court on Monday. The petition has demanded proper investigation into the matter to find the truth and improve the lives of refugees in the detention centers across Australia.
Moreover, the withdrawal of the support from the United States for accommodating 1,250 refugees in America has also affected Australian authorities. US president Donald Trump slammed Aussie Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull while having a conversation over phone. The prime minister aimed at discussing the refugee swapping deal with the US and thereby coming to a mutual agreement. But Trump refused to obey the decision taken under former US President Barack Obama’s administration. The fear of losing the US refugee swapping deal can be another reason for Australia’s PNG detention center’s officials to ask for refugees’ cooperation.
PNG Detention Center Refugees Talk about Voluntary Leaving of Units
The refugees at PNG detention center said that the officials started working on deportation cases filed weeks and months ago with urgency. They claimed that at least one man from Nepal has already been removed from his accommodation last week and that too in the middle of the night.
“They told me and others that if you go back voluntarily you will get money about $20,000, if you guys go in group you will get more money,” detainee crane driver Mohammad Bilal told Reuters. He referred to the meeting scheduled with Aussie officials last week. He left Bangladesh for political reasons.